- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 25 October 2012 04:05, Updated 25 October 2012 06:17
If you want to get rich from a standing start, then create your own business. This is the message that comes through loud and clear from the 2012 BRW Fast 100, which lists the 100 fastest-growing companies measured over the past three financial years. The median personal fortune for this year’s crop is between $4 million and $5 million and nearly half of them are taking home a salary of more than $150,000 a year.
That personal fortune is built mostly on the companies they have founded and on the handsome multiples one can expect when investors see a company that is growing strongly despite the general sorry state of parts of the economy.
As ever, the BRW Fast 100 have created something out of almost nothing – the median range of start-up capital was between $20,000 and $50,000 and for most (71 per cent) they established their companies with money from their savings. From that they have created businesses with a combined revenue of $1.7 billion in 2011-12 which employ more than 4000 people. All this has come about in the toughest economic conditions in Australia for 20 years.
The Fast 100 are also becoming more cognisant of the opportunities offered by overseas markets. While only one-quarter were “born global” – starting out with a global strategy – now 38 per cent of them sell goods or services in overseas markets and 35 per cent say they are taking advantage of growth economies in China and India. Of course, they are digital natives, with 77 per cent of them using social media with Facebook their favourite platform.
Their success has made them confident – 68 per cent are very positive about the next 12 months, 92 per cent plan to hire more staff and only 2 per cent are not expecting growth this financial year. Imagine if that strength of confidence and conviction was evenly spread across the economy.
That, however, is highly unlikely because the Fast 100 are a particular breed of bosses that are the exception, not the rule. Their confidence and success come from some particular entrepreneurial traits.
What stands out this year is how good the Fast 100 are at spotting a niche and then exploiting it. This year there were three niches that stood out in terms of supporting fast-growing businesses: the health and beauty or “vanity” industry, the training industry and the occupational health and safety industry.
These industries have existed for a long time but Fast 100 businesses have identified a particular niche in each of these industries that have supported fast growth. It’s a lesson that even mature industries can be ripe for re-invention.
Other traits they demonstrate include a high level of resilience – something that is essential in the current period of economic volatility – along with a willingness to re-invent themselves and a nimble attitude to change.
These traits, though, can be learnt. At BRW, we don’t believe that successful people are born, we think they can be made. This issue is not so much restricted to the fastest-growing companies in Australia but spreads to those that would like to be in that group next year.
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